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CPU Architectures: future shifts from traditional models

Doug Carmean


While Moore’s law is alive and well in silicon scaling technology, it is clear that microprocessors have encountered significant technical issues that will influence the overall direction of the future architectures. This talk discusses the recent history of Intel microprocessors, some of the rational that guided the development of those processors. Further, the talk highlights why the future microprocessor architectures will likely look different from the past.

The traditional microprocessor architecture uses hardware techniques such as out-of-order processing to extract higher performance out of applications that have little or no explicit parallelism. The hardware techniques employed in the past have continued to improve performance, but at the cost of significantly increasing the power consumption of the traditional microprocessors. The power increases have led to not only higher electrical power delivery costs, but higher costs dissipating the power, resulting in high ambient noise, larger enclosure and hotter laps. To avoid a future that requires asbestos based jeans to properly handle laptops, the microprocessor architecture must change to facilitate higher performance without significantly higher power.

It is likely that microprocessor architecture will evolve from the ubiquitous single core, single threaded machine that we know and love, to an architecture that employs more cores and more threads. This shift is apparent in today’s market where general purpose processors have included techniques such as Hyper-Threading Technology and Multi-Core processors. This talk will speculate on some potential next steps for that technology and some of the potential implications on software development.


Doug Carmean is a Principal Architect with Intel’s Desktop Products Group in Oregon. Doug was one of the key architects, responsible for definition of the Intel Pentium 4 processor. He has been with Intel for 13 years, working on IA-32 processors from the 80486 to the Intel Pentium 4 processor and beyond. Prior to joining Intel, Doug worked at ROSS Technology, Sun Microsystems, Cypress Semiconductor and Lattice Semiconductor. Doug enjoys fast cars and scary, Italian motorcycles.

Doug Carmean Headshot
Doug Carmean
Intel Corporation
EEB 125
20 Oct 2005, 12:00am until 12:00am